Last week's poet on the poetry chain was Robert Mittenthal. This week, he chose a Seattle poet named Nico Vassilakis. His reasons are as follows:
A megaphone hardwired to heart breath soul. Following sound, an extrovert who inverts what the eye reports. Setting things quickly - an embrace of sound in the correlation - as it happens.
Vassilakis is the author of a book called Text Loses Time, which he says has "gone completely unnoticed by The Stranger." This is not strictly true—I wrote about it briefly during my second week here as books editor—but it's close enough. Vassilakis has been co-curator of the Subtext Reading Series, which you can read much more about here, for the last 14 and a half years. He's working on a giant collection of visual poetry titled Proctracted Type, due out from Blue Lion Books in 2009.
Here is Vassilakis's poem for the Poetry Chain:
How to participate when participating leads nowhere. The four corners wobbling toward collapse. As blue as sky can be this thorn reveals more. Thinking of highway daydreams with many cities’ difficult spellings. Children at the foot of a statue looking up to see a face. The place is quiet and alone. No one visits a place like this. You just happen upon it. A book decimated in the rain. Layers of water. Page-turning water. Spots of sunlight spotlight the body. This part is feeling good today. Congregations of birds nearby and at a distance - everywhere rummaging for food. Terrible events are forgotten for a moment. Subtle waves become impossible at night. How air gets infused with water’s edge on a shoreline to make white. Dogs are too tame here. We are a derivative of our own sense of perfection. Always a near miss. I will call it a peninsula, three sides unattached. Nowhere on the map does it say freedom. Thirsty for information. One perch, one eagle, one disastrous icon pecking out the heart of a pigeon. Simply clean air. I can say no more. It has through attrition become an acquired taste. A kind of blissful surrender.
And here (with much more here) is a sample of his visual poetry:
Vassilakis is a vital member of Seattle's poetry scene and I'm really pleased to have him take his place in the Poetry Chain. Thanks to him, and tune in next week to see who he's chosen for the next link in the chain.